Friday, August 28, 2009

Fermentation Friday - Breaking Away From The Norm

Thanks to Matt over at World of Brews for hosting this months Fermentation Friday. His topic this month, "Breaking Away From the Norm".
"Most home brewers I know and read about use the standard 2 row base malt and the 3 big C's for the hops and maybe a nice 1056 or 05 for the yeast. In my book that is kind of boring even though I do it myself. I want to know if and why you break away from the norm. Do you use Maris Otter for your base and Tettenger as the hop. Or have you ever tried using a specialty malt as a base (can this even be done)? Do you like to mix up the yeast or do you always stay the same. So bust out your out of the norm recipes and tell me why you chose what you did."
This months topic is relatively pertinent to me since just last month I did just that. I brewed my Allagash Triple Clone using Pilsner malt as the base. I am almost always using 2-row for my base malts in all my beers. It's cheap and it works well, but for some beers you need to use something different. This beer being one of them. Unfortunately, the beer is still in the secondary so I don't have an update yet as to how it turn out, but I'm going to be bottling next week so in a few weeks it will be drinkable.

Over the past few months I've been reading a lot of my old issues of Zymurgy and BYO and online homebrew forums like Tastybrew and lots of people are "breaking away from the norm" and using things like MO (Maris Otter) and other types of base grains. But in this economy and seeing that I don't have a ton of extra cash laying around, I like to use 2-row. It might not give you the same powerful flavor as MO but it's a great grain to use and it's cheap!!!

With hops, it's a little different for me. I rarely use the 3 C's (even though I grow Cascade and Centennial) and I am always on the lookout for the newest, and most pungent hops available. Currently, I've been trying to use a lot of Glacier Hops. They're not the easiest to find, but they have a wonderful citrusy aroma and pack a nice hop punch. For me, I like to use hops for the Aroma and Flavor they can produce. I tend to do a lot of 30 minute and under additions and those work the best there. I do like to big alpha hops, but I feel that when you're trying to put that many IBU's in through a bittering hop, the flavor and aroma get lost from that hop. So, I make sure the late addition hops I use pack a good punch for the nose!!

Make sure you tune in to next months Fermentation Friday as I'll be hosting (I think) here on Brewing the Perfect Beer!!!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Craft Brewing Statistics

The Brewers Association released it's mid-year numbers today. The press release is located on their web site, click here to view the full release.

Some highlights:
  • Dollar growth from craft brewers during the first half of 2009 increased 9%, down from 11% growth during the same period in 2008.
  • Volume of craft brewed beer sold grew 5% for the first six months in 2009, compared to 6.5% growth in the first half of 2008.
  • The U.S. now boasts 1,525 breweries, the highest number in 100 years when consolidation and the run up to Prohibition reduced the number of breweries to 1,498 in 1910
The last point has me thinking a lot. First, for the craft beer industry this is fantastic! The US has more breweries than any other nation. The American Craft beer movement has taken hold and clearly doing well!! But from my side of the fence, I start to re-think my plans for my future. Is the market becoming saturated? Right now, I would say no but in a few years with the growth rate we're seeing, it will be very tough, even tougher than it is now, to open a new brewery. Now, that's not to say I'm giving up, but it just means I need to really focus on providing a product that stands out from the rest!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I am......AN IDIOT!!!!!!

This is not meant to be one of those rants where I say "I thought of it first", BUT I REALLY DID!!!! And I have proof!!! (See picture) I had the idea for the "I am a Homebrewer" too, and I balked at the chance to do it!! DAMN IT!!!! As you can see by my post, I thought of this back in April. Chances are these guys did too, and it just took a while to get it out there. Kudos to them for actually going through with it!!!

Why bring this up now you say? Well, because I'm slightly jealous and I feel like an idiot. I should have gone ahead with the idea then I could be the one everyone is talking about! Ehh, oh well! Anyway, I hope you have seen the clip and enjoyed it. It's pretty good.....BUT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN US! :-)


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Trappistes Rochefort 8 Review

I took a trip to Julio's Liquor's, aka the candy store, and made the decision to get some beers I had wanted to try, but have yet to. The first of these beers is Trappistes Rochefort 8 from the Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy). I have been on a Belgian Beer kick lately, not only drinking them but brewing them as well, and this is one that is highly rated on BA both from the bro's and the readers.

Appearence - Pours a dark amber color with a frothy tan colored head. Lace marks the glass as I drink it down.

Aroma - Some fruity aroma's are preasent, maybe raisons or figs. Alcohol is noticable with slight hints of oak.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Velvety creaminess and alcohol come through instantly. Some oaky flavors are apparent but alcohol is the star. Fruityness is evident as well, maybe raisons or figs.

Drinkability - At 9% ABV, drinkability is somewhat limited. That being said, hang up the car keys and settle down. I could drink these all night....although that might not last as long as I want. This beer is very drinkable. The alcohol warmth and aroma with fruity fig/raison background make this a delicious beer. I can see why this is one of the top 75 beers on BA.